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Lucas locks up Presidio plan.

HOLLYWOOD "Star Wars" guru George Lucas won the rights last week to develop a $250 million "digital arts center" on 23 acres of San Francisco's Presidio.

The Presidio Trust, set up by Congress to plot the future of the 1,500-acre former Army base in prime land at the northern end of the city, approved Lucasfilm Ltd.'s plan to create a campuslike setting that will house Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas Arts, Lucas Learning, THX, the George Lucas Educational Foundation and Lucas Online.

The separate companies are now scattered around the San Francisco Bay area and will let their current leases expire when their combined 1,600 employees begin moving into the new facility in 2002.

The campus will be able to accommodate up to 2,500 employees, "allowing us the chance to grow," Lucasfilm prexy Gordon Radley says.

The first resident is expected to be f/x powerhouse ILM, which has been based in San Rafael for 20 years. ILM operated in Los Angeles from 1975-77 before heading north after completing "Star Wars."

Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound are expected to remain at Skywalker Ranch, Radley says. The company plans to develop a second ranch just 10 miles from the current facility, Radley said.

The project becomes the first redevelopment of the Presidio. Lucasfilm began vying for the land six months ago and beat out a rival plan that would have seen the park become the new home of Internet media player CNET Inc.

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Author:GRASER, MARC
Publication:Variety
Date:Jun 21, 1999
Words:244
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